March 2, 1923

YUKON ACT AMENDMENT


Mr. GEORGE BLACK (Yukon) moved for leave to introduce Bill No. 44, to amend the Yukon Act. He said: The object of the proposed amendment is to increase the classes of actions in which litigants may have the right to appeal and may have the right to have issues of fact determined by a juiy. Before the Yukon courts litigants are limited to appealing from final judgments only; there is no right to appeal from interlocutory judgments. Members of the House who are lawyers will realize that is a most unnecessary limitation. The right to appeal in Yukon courts is limited to actions where the amount in controversy is $500 or upwards; where the title to real estate is in question, where the validity of a patent is affected, or the matter in question relates to the taking of an annual rent, a customary or other duty or fee, or a like demand of a public or general nature affecting future rights, or in cases of proceedings for or upon mandamus, prohibition or injunction. Strange to say, cases which most frequently arise there do not come within the list of those in which the right of appeal exists, namely: Actions for the recovery of mining claims, both placer gold claims and quartz claims; actions to establish the title to mining claims and actions to settle boundaries of mining claims. The court has jurisdiction to try actions for divorces and judicial separation, but there is no right of appeal. The same limitations apply to the right to have questions of fact 70S Supply-Justice



determined by a jury. In that respect actions over mining claims are omitted in the same way. Those for the recovery of mining claims, or to establish boundaries of mining claims, or to establish titles to mining claims do not carry with them the right to trial by jury; nor have litigants the right to have questions of fact in actions for divorce or judicial separation determined by a jury. I realize that the bill is late in getting on the order paper. I called the attention of the government last year to the necessity for these amendments, and I was hoping that a government bill would be introduced for the purpose this session. However, that has not yet been done and I trust that the government will see its way clear to providing time for putting this measure through. The matter is not contentious, and will take up very little of the time of the House. Motion agreed to and bill read the first time.


CHINESE IMMIGRATION


Hon. C. A. STEWART (Acting Minister of Immigration and Colonization) moved to introduce Bill No. 45, respecting Chinese Immigration. He said: There are several new features in this bill. One is that we are by statute limiting entrance of Chinese to Canada to mem; bers of the diplomatip corps; to children born in Canada but who have left this country for the purpose of being educated; and to merchants . and students. It is rather a difficult matter to define the word "merchants" and we have not made a very definite description of the individual to be known to a merchant who will be admitted to Canada. Undoubtedly there will be a considerable amount of discussion on this particular section when the bill comes up for consideration. The definition of "students" is restricted to students coming to Canada for the purpose of attending any Canadian university or college authorized by statute or charter to confer degrees. While we have had some difficulty in connection with the definition of "merchants," we have defined students very clearly. These are the two important clauses of the bill. There are many other regulations to be dealt with, but they will come up for consideration in Committee of the Whole and will be dealt with there. Motion agreed to and bill read the first time.


DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE


The House again in Committee of Supply, Mr. Gordon in the chair. Penitentiaries, $1,670,500.


PRO

Thomas Wakem Caldwell

Progressive

Mr. CALDWELL:

I would like to call the attention of the Minister of Justice to some things that have happened during the past year in connection with capital punishment. We have had capital punishment in this country for a long time, and it is possible we shall not abolish it at the present time. We had a case during the last year, in the county in which I live, of a man being executed in such a bungling manner that it was commented on, I think, by all the papers in Canada. I know there is a very strong feeling in my province, and I think in other provinces of Canada, that capital punishment should not be carried out at the county gaols, but that some provision should be made for executing prisoners who are condemned to death in the penitentiaries or at some central place in the province where proper arrangements can be made to carry out the law in that respect. Living in the county in which this bungling occurred last year, I feel that I would be remiss in my duty if I let this opportunity pass without calling the attention of the Minister of Justice to the matter. I have no doubt that he has received communications on the subject, and I should like to know whether it is the intention of his department to make arrangements to have executions caried out in future at the penitentiaries in Canada.

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Mr HANSON:

I would like to add a word along the same line as the hon. member for Victoria and Carleton. This matter has been brought very forcibly to the attention of the country by reason of the terrible bungling that took place in an execution in the county of Carleton, New Brunswick. A capital crime of some enormity was committed down there, and the death penalty was imposed upon the accused. I quite

appreciate the fact that under the constitution the carrying out of the punishment for that offence is imposed upon the provincial authorities, and that in consequence a constitutional question arises in connection with my hon. friend's suggestion. The sheriffs are appointed by the provincial government, and for the most*part they are very fair officials and carry out their duties with a certain degree of exactness; but in the case of capi-

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tal punishment almost invariably we find that they refuse to perform their duty. I am not casting any reflections upon the sheriff of Carleton county. He probably did what any other sheriff in the country would have done. He endeavoured to get some other person to perform the task that the law had imposed upon him, and so far as he failed to do it himself, he failed to perform his duty. At the same time, he employed a person who was evidently wholly unqualified with the result .that the whole community, the whole country, in fact, was shocked at the manner in which the punishment was inflicted in that case. It is not perhaps any business of the Dominion, strictly from a constitutional point of view, but it does occur to me that a convention or arrangement might be made with the provincial authorities whereby the imposition of capital punishment might very well be carried out by officials of the Dominion in the penitentiaries at the various centres. I hope that the Minister of Justice to whom I have already spoken about this matter will give it his very best consideration. The country will not stand for a repetition of what took place in Carleton, New Brunswick, last year.

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LIB

Pius Michaud

Liberal

Mr. MICHAUD:

I want tb emphasize the remarks made by the hon. member for York-Sunbury (Mr. Hanson) in connection with a hanging that took place in New Brunswick last summer. What took place on that occasion was very unfortunate; somebody is to blame, and I hope the Minister of Justice (Sir Lomer Gouin), in the near future, will have the law of our province altered so that a man convicted and sentenced to be hanged will be hanged in the yard of the penitentiary, and not in the yard of the county gaol. Moreover, the sheriff of a county is not a competent man to hang one of his fellowmen. The man who should look after these serious matters ought to be appointed by the government of this country, and he ought to be the only man required to assume this duty.

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PRO

Thomas Wakem Caldwell

Progressive

Mr. CALDWELL:

In view of the discussion that has taken place regarding where the blame is to be attached for bungling the execution of a man in Carleton county, I should, perhaps, say another word. Our sheriff spared no effort to get a competent hangman and he secured a man recommended to him by the sheriff of Montreal as being competent. On the day before the execution was to take place, the sheriff received a telegram stating that on account of an accident, this man would be unable to attend. Our sheriff would not hang the man, and I

would be very sorry if he had to undertake such a duty. I do not think the sheriff of a county should be compelled to do the hanging for that county. He is an official who must perform his official duties and meet the people of his county in his every day official work.

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LIB
PRO

Thomas Wakem Caldwell

Progressive

Mr. CALDWELL:

Yes; but we should change it so that it should not be part of his official duties. Later on, he had the sentence postponed, because otherwise, under the Criminal Code, should the execution not have taken place on the day appointed, the man would have got off and could not be hanged afterwards. The sheriff came to Montreal and, for fear of a slip-up the next time, employed two men, each recommended to him as being competent to perform the hanging. He took them both down,- and I believe the hanging was carried out in a very efficient manner. The trouble was that the man was cut down before he was entirely dead. An investigation was held and the sheriff was exonerated from all blame in the matter. I think the investigation did not go deep enough; it did not place the blame where possibly it rightly belonged. Several surgeons were present who were testing the man to find out whether he was dead or not; but whether the surgeons pronounced him dead and he was * accordingly cut down, was not made clear. As the sheriff would not perform the hanging and had to employ another man, he must pay that man out of his own pocket. This is not fair. I do not think a sheriff is a competent man to hang a person; he is a man selected to do the duty of sheriff of a county in enforcing the law,' and unfortunately this is, at the present time, part of his duties. If executions were carried out at provincial penitentiaries, it would be well to have an efficient man to officiate for a province, or, possibly, for two provinces. I would not say as to that. You cannot expect every sheriff in every county to be an efficient hangman. Capital punishment is part of the law that I have never approved myself; but as it is on the statute books, if it is to be carried out, it should be carried out in an exemplary manner without a hitch, and this is not always the case at the present time. I hope the Minister of Justice (Sir Lomer Gouin) will see to it that this is arranged.

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Hon. S@

No one regrets more than I do this painful incident which was referred to; but as has been admitted by all

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hon. members who have spoken, the carrying out of capital punishment is a matter in the jurisdiction of the provinces. We are told that it should not be the duty of a sherriff to carry out capital punishment. That may be so; but that is for the province to decide, and it is for the province to see that the sentence is carried out. A proposition is made that the executions should take place in provincial penitentiaries. First of all, there are no provincial penitentiaries. All our penitentiaries are Dominion. It has been suggested that, if possible, one penitentiary, where executions should take place, should be chosen for each part of the country. This is another matter that must be decided first by the provinces, and if the provinces ask us to lend a penitentiary for such executions, this is a matter which we might discuss and agree upon. I am disposed to do anything possible to prevent a repetition of such an incident. I understand that an investigation has taken place to find out where the responsibility for it rests. I have no comment to make as to the decision which was reached; but it is my intention to communicate with the different provinces and to try to find some way to give satisfaction to the people of Canada on this point.

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LIB

Arthur Bliss Copp (Secretary of State of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. COPP:

Can the Minister of Justice give us a short statement with regard to the item under Dorchester penitentiary: "Land, building and equipment, $80,000"? What does that comprise, and what buildings are being erected. Is it a continuation of the same work, or new work?

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LIB

Lomer Gouin (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Sir LOMER GOUIN:

This item covers the cost of continuation of construction and provides for the purchase of necessary land. There is a decrease of $3,000 from last year.

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LIB

Arthur Bliss Copp (Secretary of State of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. COPP:

If it is not the same work, what work is being done?

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LIB

Lomer Gouin (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Sir LOMER GOUIN:

The item covers:

Completion of hospital $20,000

Sewage disposal plant 25,000

Officers' row 10,000

Water main and sewers 10,000

Deputy warden's house 10,000

Equipment of new school and hospital.. 5,000

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LIB

Arthur Bliss Copp (Secretary of State of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. COPP:

Is that $10,000 for the purchase of a house for the deputy warden?

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LIB

Lomer Gouin (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Sir LOMER GOUIN:

The construction of a new house.

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March 2, 1923